While we all do our best to stay home and socially distance, it can be easy to get caught up in re-watching favorite movies or tv shows for comfort. I’ve developed a way to mix up my pop culture routines and add a little more festivity to my days spent at home: mini at-home film festivals!
The idea is to host a mini-marathon of movies following a particular director, genre, or theme. Sometimes it may require renting a movie, but other times the movies are widely available on major streaming services.
Do you live with a partner, family, or roommates? This is a great way to escape together into pop culture. Are you living out quarantine by yourself? Pick a film festival idea, and consider doing online engagement with friends to enjoy the experience together!
Jane Austen Day
This one’s a home run for Frolic readers, since we love a good romance and Jane Austen is a cornerstone of the genre! But which Austen should you choose?!
I propose two options for an at-home Austen Festival:
Option A: Pride and Prejudice Day! Watch the 1995 miniseries and 2005 movie back-to-back in whichever order will make your heart the very happiest. Double the Lizzie! Double the Darcy! Double the upsetting piano performances by Mary!
Option B: A movie marathon that includes the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park from 1999, and then splurging a bit to rent the newly released version of Emma!
Ways to make your film festival extra festive include preparing a spread of tea and biscuits, wearing your finest maxi dress (or period-appropriate costume, if you are a super fan!), and hand-writing letters in between movies to keep up with your socially distant friends and relatives
Musical Movie Day
I recently wrote for Frolic about some of my favorite movie musicals of the 00’s, so this list is a bit biased. However, this is a lovely option if you want to inject a bit of song into your life!
There are lots of ways to go with this, but my personal recommendation would be to watch Chicago, Moulin Rouge, and Hairspray in roughly that order. Chicago gives you the prestige of an Oscar-winner. Moulin Rouge gives you eye-popping color and popular songs. Hairspray ends the marathon on an upbeat, peppy note—and we all know that you can’t stop the beat!
If you’re feeling more macabre, you could swap in Sweeney Todd. If you want a classic musical, you could enjoy The Sound of Music or Fiddler on the Roof. No matter what, be sure to pick movies that speak to the song in your heart.
And if you’re feeling extra brave, you could cap off the night with an extra glass of your preferred beverage and turn on the 2019 adaptation of Cats.
Ways to make your at-home film festival extra festive include belting out the songs you love and decorating your home in printed-out Broadway posters.
Old Romance Movie Day!
Something special happens when you let yourself become immersed in good old movies! There’s a special rhythm to so many old romances and screwball comedies that creates the foundation for modern-day rom coms!
Of course, there are many ways you could approach this film festival, but I’ve come up with a lineup that I consider to be heartfelt, engaging and funny!
First up, watch Roman Holiday! This one has a more heart-wrenching ending, but Audrey Hepburn is captivating and Gregory Peck is dreamy.
Next, follow up with two rat-a-tat screwball comedies: His Girl Friday and The Philadelphia Story. These movies have dynamic dialogue, excellent actors, and iconic moments!
Ways to make your at-home film festival extra festive include donning your best retro outfit including va-va-voom red lipstick; even though the movies are in black and white, you can still enjoy old Hollywood glamour! Then spend the rest of your day calling friends and talking to your housemates in a rapid Mid Atlantic accent that would make Rosalind Russel and Katherine Hepburn proud!
Scary Movie Day
I’m still relatively new to the horror scene, but I have to recommend a scary film festival. On monotonous days spent indoors, it’s like taking your brain on a rollercoaster!
If you’re up for three whole movies, I recommend some of my favorites from the last couple years: Midsommar (a sunny slow-burn that becomes disturbing), and then Jordan Peele’s amazing movies Get Out and Us. I like this lineup because, if you watch all of them in order the tension and seriousness builds slowly until you’re finally immersed in a scary, thoughtful, but also occasionally funny movie!
If you’re a newcomer to horror, and can only pick one or two of these, I’d go with both of Peele’s works. His history in comedy makes him an expert in building and relieving tension in both of his modern classics!
Ways to make your film festival extra festive include making a flower crown for Midsommar, or creating paper people cutouts like the sinister crafting that happens in US!
Nora Ephron Day
I am a sucker for a good rom com, and Nora Ephron wrote some of the best! On a snow day a few years ago, I stayed in with my husband and watched this exact lineup of movies. Therefore, I can personally attest to the mood-boosting joys of a Nora Ephronathon!
This film festival is meant to help you bask in all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings. Though they’re awash in 80’s and 90’s looks, these movies still manage to give me butterflies today.
It doesn’t get any better than Ephron’s three most iconic movies: When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail.
Ways to make your at-home film festival extra festive include practicing peeling an apple in one long strip and starting up an email pen-pal relationship with someone you care about.
There are seemingly endless options for these kinds of at-home film festivals! You could do Alfred Hitchcock day, since we all relate to Rear Window right now. If you want to spend some time feeling your feelings, maybe set aside a day of technicolor melancholy with Wes Anderson movies? Or how about picking a series like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or maybe even The Fast and the Furious and seeing it through over a day or two?
No matter what, I hope you find pop-culture ways to have fun with your movies as a way to break up the stay-at-home stress!